These Deadly Diseases Still Have No Cure

It’s the premise for too many science fiction novels and films to count. A highly contagious and deadly disease spreads around the world, forcing scientists to scramble for a cure they aren’t sure exists.

Pandemics have happened, and could happen again. But what many of us possibly fear more than widespread outbreaks is contracting a devastating illness you’d think would have a cure by now, but doesn’t. Something that seems like it could have been prevented, but wasn’t.

Not all incurable diseases are contagious. Many chronic conditions develop seemingly out of nowhere and force people to learn to live with them.

These are just a few diseases and chronic conditions that doctors know how to treat, but still aren’t sure how to cure.

Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s occurs most often in individuals over the age of 65, but the disease can develop anytime during or after middle age. It affects the mind first, disrupting a person’s ability to think, reason, and recall. This makes day-to-day activities increasingly more difficult as the disease progresses, and physical health often declines thereafter.

OverĀ five million people live with this disease in the United States alone. Once you’re diagnosed with the disease, you could live up to 10 years or more before complications take over. You’re guaranteed to die with the disease, even if you don’t die as a direct result of it.

Diabetes

man is measuring the level of glucose in his blood

Man measuring his blood glucose levels for diabetes | iStock.com/BernardaSv

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes negatively affect the body’s ability to control its own blood sugar. Either the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin to regulate it, or the body becomes “resistant” to the insulin it does produce. This can cause serious complications many people are forced to live with for a lifetime.

Doctors can prescribe medications and devices to help people with both primary types of diabetes live as normal of a life as possible. But there is no cure. Some people have successfully managed to reverse their type 2 diabetes, but it’s uncommon, and it’s not the same as “curing” the disease.

Ebola

The disease spreads from person to person through the body fluids of those infected, primarily entering through the eyes, nose, and mouth. Those who do survive the disease often experience significant symptoms like exhaustion, vision problems, and more.

There currently isn’t an antiviral drug you can take to recover from the disease. Scientists are looking into methods that block virus particles from entering cells, but don’t know whether or not this could treat large numbers of people in the midst of another outbreak.

Cancer

Young cancer patient resting in bed

Young cancer patient resting in bed | Ridofranz/ iStock

There are over 100 known types of cancer worldwide. These abnormal cells can grow pretty much anywhere in your body, and survival rates vary depending on the location and stage of the disease. Your chances of surviving cancer decrease the later its stage.

There is no known “cure” for cancer. Treatments like chemotherapy and surgery can successfully remove cancer cells from the body, sending someone into a state of remission. But the reason cancer often comes back is because removing it isn’t the same as fully preventing or curing it — both currently impossible.

The more time passes, the closer we are to findingĀ cures for diseases like these. There are things you can do to decrease your risk of developing certain conditions. Unfortunately, though, there is almost never a guaranteed way to keep yourself from getting sick. But taking care of yourself, and the ones you love, can increase your chances of living a long, healthy, happy life.

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